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January 10, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

VIOLENCE IN IRAQ....An interesting new study about post-invasion death rates in Iraq was released by the World Health Organization today. I had to extrapolate a bit from the raw data, but if I did that correctly then the WHO's results differ from last year's Lancet study in two ways:

  • It estimates total excess deaths (through June 2006) at about 393,000. The Lancet study pegged it at 655,000.

  • It estimates total post-invasion violent deaths at 151,000. The Lancet study said the number was 601,000.

(Note: As reported in Table 3, the study calculated 1.09 violent deaths per 1,000 person years after the invasion, from which the authors estimate a post-invasion total of 151,000 violent deaths. They didn't provide an estimate for total deaths, but the reported increase in all deaths (post-invasion vs. pre-invasion) is 2.84 per 1,000 person years. Applying the same multiplier therefore provides an estimate of 393,000 excess deaths from all causes.)

It's a big number no matter how you slice it, but I imagine this will reignite the controversy over the Lancet study. The difference in their estimate of total excess deaths (655,000 vs. 393,000) isn't huge for a study with such inherent difficulties, but the difference in the violent death rate is. The Lancet study calculates that 92% of all post-invasion excess deaths were from violent causes, while WHO figures it at 38%.

Why the difference? Les Roberts, one of the authors of the Lancet study, offered this: "My gut feeling is that most of the difference between the two studies is a reluctance to report to the government a death due to violence," he said. "If your son is fighting the government and died, that may not be something you'd want to admit to the government." More here.

Kevin Drum 12:33 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (119)

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5-10% of Iraqis have fled the country, so an accurate survey is getting harder to do.

Posted by: Jim Lund on January 10, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Do a thousand or ten thousand or a hundred thousand fewer innocent lives lost make this illegal war more justified? I don't think so.

Who will be the last to die for a pack of lies?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 10, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

A few days ago, the National Journal published the results of an intensive review of the Lancet Study that cast grave doubts on its accuracy. This new review is another nail in the coffin of the Lancet Study.

I am particularly struck by the parts I bolded. My spouse is a widely published biostatistician. The failure to save all data and to answer questions about the method is strikingly different from ordinary academic practice.

How to explain the enormous discrepancy between The Lancet's estimation of Iraqi war deaths and those from studies that used other methodologies? For starters, the authors of the Lancet study followed a model that ensured that even minor components of the data, when extrapolated over the whole population, would yield huge differences in the death toll. Skeptical commentators have highlighted questionable assumptions, implausible data, and ideological leanings among the authors, Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts.

Some critics go so far as to suggest that the field research on which the study is based may have been performed improperly -- or not at all. The key person involved in collecting the data -- Lafta, the researcher who assembled the survey teams, deployed them throughout Iraq, and assembled the results -- has refused to answer questions about his methods.

Some of these questions could be resolved if other researchers had access to the surveyors' original field reports and response forms. The authors have released files of collated survey results but not the original survey reports, citing security concerns and the fact that some information was not recorded or preserved in the first place. This was a legitimate problem, and it underscored the difficulty of conducting research in a war zone.

Each death recorded by the Hopkins surveyors in 2006 extrapolated to 2,000 deaths in the Iraqi population.

Over the past several months, National Journal has examined the 2006 Lancet article, and another that some of the same authors published in 2004; probed the problems of estimating wartime mortality rates; and interviewed the authors and their critics. NJ has identified potential problems with the research that fall under three broad headings: 1) possible flaws in the design and execution of the study; 2) a lack of transparency in the data, which has raised suspicions of fraud; and 3) political preferences held by the authors and the funders, which include George Soros's Open Society Institute.

http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/databomb/index.htm

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 10, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

My general thought on this terrible tragedy is that the goalposts have been moved so far as to make reasoned analysis of our progress very difficult (if not for the readers of this blog than, at least, for the general public).

Pacifying the country was something that we had a moral obligation to do from the moment that we toppled its government. We had the ability to do it but chose not to commit the troops. Now that we seem to have some success in having done that, we are at the beginning of our real task: policing the country long enough for the government to get on its own feet, which it shows few signs of actually doing. The mission certainly wasn't accomplished in 2004 nor is it close to being accomplished now.

The problem is that we're down thousands of soldiers and a trillion dollars meaning that we do not (in spite the unrealistic ravings of John McCain) have the wherewithal to see this thing through to its conclusion. Which means that we will be shirking our moral obligation that exists for Americans - yes, even if they didn't support the invasion to begin with.

It's a tragedy played out on a grand scale and the unnecessary death figures (whether they are 400,000 or 700,000) just underscore its magnitude.

Posted by: micahw on January 10, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

These two "This American Life" radio programs cover the Lancet study. It's especially interesting to hear how the study was done.

Original story 10.28.2005

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1104

Story revisited 11.03.2006

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1157

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on January 10, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

Let's agree, for the moment, that the Lancet study was deeply flawed or even intentionally biased.

Does that have an impact on your reasoning about the war generally?

Would 600,000 violent deaths have been too many but 150,000 is an acceptable number? Or would any number of deaths (within reason) be acceptable because the cause is just?

Posted by: micahw on January 10, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting result found in new study: "... a 60 percent increase in nonviolent deaths -- from such causes as childhood infections and kidney failure -- during the period."

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on January 10, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

micahw,

I think the issue is more complicated that simple determining if 150,000 deaths are "acceptable." For starters, the Lancet figure has been used so frequently and forcefully by war critics that exposure of its flaws is a significant part of the war debate.

Moreover, the 150,000 figure has flaws of its own. It measures the raw number of violent deaths in Iraq regardless of their cause. This means it includes not only Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. forces but also insurgents killed by U.S. forces. And most significantly it includes Iraqi civilians killed by al Qaeda and the insurgents. And it includes insurgents killing each other.

Under Saddam, the overwhelming majority of violent deaths came from his government killing civilians. Today in Iraq, the vast majority of violent deaths are caused by al Qaeda and the insurgents. The government (and by extension the U.S.) is a minor contributor to the figures. Moreover, unless the data can differentiate between Iraqi's killed because they were part of AQI or the inurgency versus actual innocent civilians, the data is not that helpful.

Now we are "responsible" for this because we got rid of Saddam. But the Iraqi civilians have exchanged the option of being killed by Saddam for the option of being killed by AQI or the insurgency. The only force in Iraq trying not to kill civilians are the government (and by extension the U.S.). And so insignificant point that is often overlooked by people happy to cite the Lancet figure.

Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bush: "Saddam Hussein who killed his own people"

Well, well. Isn't this interesting. George didn't lie...he just got the wrong person.

INDICT, IMPEACH, CONVICT !!!

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on January 10, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

The government (and by extension the U.S.) is a minor contributor to the figures.

No, the US is the single major contributor to the figures since it began the entire war with its unprovoked and illegal attack on a sovereign nation. No US invasion would have resulted in no war would have resulted in no casualties.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

As if we needed any more evidence of the bogosity of the Lancet study.

Posted by: Brian on January 10, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Today in Iraq, the vast majority of violent deaths are caused by al Qaeda and the insurgents.

Cite, please, preferably with a link. Please specifically substantiate the figure relating to al Qaeda, which is probably the smallest fighting force in Iraq and hence rather unlikely to account for the vast majority of the casualties.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Your axiomatic point notwithstanding, you are ignoring the violent death rate caused by Saddam's assaults against Iraqi civilians. Estimates vary (particularly based on whether or not one includes the Iran-Iraq War or the Anfal campaign) but the violent death rate was awfully high under Saddam, by some estimates higher than the current rate. So while it is true that without the invasion, Iraqi would not be being killed by AQI and the insurgents, they would still be being killed by Saddam. And with no hope for a future without him. Lastly, the fact that you are unwilling to blame the actual murderers in Iraq (AQI and the insurgency) for the violence there speaks volumes about your balance and perspective.

Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

The Lancet study did not measure violent death only. it measured premature deaths. Cancers, diabetes, heart disease - deaths caused by chronic conditions. The conflation is astounding, and utterly dishonest, pushed by agenda whores with nothing to lose who think it's fine for other people and other peoples children to die to save face for a madman.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 10, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK
....Over the past several months, National Journal has examined the 2006 Lancet article,....ex-lax at 1:10 PM
Ex-lax is of the opinion that if only 100,000 innocent Iraqis died because of Bush's invasion and occupation, it's better than if 600,000 did. In fact, the overthrow of Saddam was not worth one innocent life, neither one American nor one Iraq, and it certainly is not worth the cost that future American taxpayers will have to assume because of this unnecessary humanitarian disaster to Iraq society caused by George W. Bush and his immoral supporters. Here is the beginning of what will be a more serious analysis than your political agenda would ever offer.

...2) There are reasons to suspect that the NEJM data had an under-reporting of violent deaths.
The death rate they recorded for before the invasion (and after) was very low....lower than neighboring countries and 1/3 of what WHO said the death rate was for Iraq back in 2002.
The last time this group (COSIT) did a mortality survey like this they also found a very low crude death rate and when they revisited the exact same homes a second time and just asked about child deaths, they recorded almost twice as many. Thus, the past record suggests people do not want to report deaths to these government employees.
We confirmed our deaths with death certificates, they did not. As the NEJM study's interviewers worked for one side in this conflict, it is likely that people would be unwilling to admit violent deaths to the study workers....

....Now we are "responsible" for this because we got rid of Saddam.... Hack at 1:35 PM
Yes, according to International law regarding occupations, we are.

... Art. 43.
The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country. ...

Warmongers can shirk their responsibility, but you can't deny it.

Posted by: Mike on January 10, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

They're estimating gross mortality rates but use Iraq Body Count's estimates for a small subset of that number - violent civilian deaths reported by the media - for their imputations. If you assume that the regional comparison for that subset is the same as the gross you're fine, but I would think that that's a bit of a stretch.

For one thing deaths in those regions be under-reported in the IBC accounting for the same reasons the IFHS surveyors were unable to access them at all, or died trying.

No discussion of the increase in refugee absenteeism (which has more than doubled since the Robert's et.al. survey) in the under-reporting adjustment? No specific dates for when the IFHS survey took place, either, presumably by "2006 and 2007" they mean that winter, so the difference wouldn't be that great.

The low end of the 95% confidence interval of the Lancet study was 426K, and the mid-point for the WHO is close to that at your 393K, so there is some confidence-interval overlap for total excess mortality between the two surveys.

And Tim Lambert has more comments from Les Roberts on his blog.

Posted by: buermann on January 10, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

There was no AQI before Bush's splendid cock-up. Remember that. Now it's a free for all of death. Before, it was limited to those who opposed Saddam Hussein. He was a thug and a brutal dictator - but c'mon. Only a doofus could, with all sincerity, say things are better now.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 10, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

micahw: Let's agree, for the moment, that the Lancet study was deeply flawed or even intentionally biased.

Does that have an impact on your reasoning about the war generally?

Would 600,000 violent deaths have been too many but 150,000 is an acceptable number? Or would any number of deaths (within reason) be acceptable because the cause is just?

micahw, that's a good question. It depends on how things turn out. If the surge continues to defeat AQI and other terrorists, and if the various religious groups can live together in peace, and if the democratic government is able to become effective and stable, then a great many deaths would be justified.

On the other hand, if things fall apart and Iraq returns to what it was before the war, or worse, if there's ongoing civil war, then no deaths are all would be justified.

Don't forget that the alternative to our invasion would have been leaving Saddam and his sons in power indefinitely. Saddam had caused perhaps 2 million violent deaths in his 24 years of misrule by using torture and mass murder at home, and by starting wars with Iran, Kuwait, and Israel. Had he remained in power, who knows how many more he would have killed?

Note also that the larger number makes the original invasion more dubious, but it also argues in favor of keeping our troops in Iraq to finish the job properly.

micahw, there's another aspect of your hypothesis I wish to comment on. This study was dubious from the beginning, because it gave results unlike all the other studies and because it used an unusual method. Even the anti-war group Iraq Body Count disputed it.

Yet, many people chose to give it full credence. Also, many people blamed the US for all these deaths, even though the Lancet study provided no information about how these violent deaths had occurred. That reaction may tell us something about the judgment of some anti-war folks.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 10, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Today in Iraq, the vast majority of violent deaths of civilians are caused by US aerial bombing.

The statistical methods used by the Lancet study are very beneficial to identifying epidemics and how many victims they produce. My understanding is that is why these statistical methods were developed.

Creationists' complaints should be ignored when they discount scientific methods for political reasons.

Posted by: Brojo on January 10, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget that the alternative to our invasion would have been leaving Saddam and his sons in power indefinitely.

It was the place if Iraqis to overthrow that government, not your boy Bush. You really are the epitome of sleaze, you warmongering piece of shit. How many deferments did your useless ass get when it was your turn?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 10, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK
.... a great many deaths would be justified.... Had he remained in power, who knows how many more he would have killed? ....ex-lax at 2:03 PM
Your reasoning is obscene and morally disgusting. There is no justification of any of those deaths. You have no idea of Iraq's past and even less of its future, but it is clear that Bush's occupation is killing Iraqis and creating refugees are a greater rate than Saddam ever did.

You used to be a mere Republican bore. Now you show that you are a death loving fanatic of the lowest moral and ethical stature. You are no different than bin Laden.

Posted by: Mike on January 10, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I want an answer to that question, ex-lax. How many deferments did you get? Were you a draft dodger then, only to become a warmonger now?

Answer the question. How many deferments?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 10, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I will take your silence as probable cause to believe you are in Dick Cheney's league. Was one of them for a pimple on the ass like Limbaugh, draft dodger?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 10, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Death is still death.

Where ARE the adults ?

"Proof depends on who you are. We're looking for a preponderance of evidence, and some people need more of a preponderance than other people." - John Kantner

Posted by: daCascadian on January 10, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

If the surge continues to defeat AQI and other terrorists, and if the various religious groups can live together in peace, and if the democratic government is able to become effective and stable, then a great many deaths would be justified.

So if we defeat AQI and other terrorists who didn't exist before our invasion and only came into being as a result of our invasion, then our invasion will be justified? And if the various religious groups who were living together in peace before our invasion and only came into open conflict as a result of our invasion can once again learn to live together, then our invasion will have been justified?

That sort of circular logic achieves an Escher-like level of insanity. It's like the Wehrmacht claiming its invasion of France was justified by the need to defeat the French Resistance.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Your axiomatic point notwithstanding, you are ignoring the violent death rate caused by Saddam's assaults against Iraqi civilians. Estimates vary (particularly based on whether or not one includes the Iran-Iraq War or the Anfal campaign) but the violent death rate was awfully high under Saddam, by some estimates higher than the current rate. So while it is true that without the invasion, Iraqi would not be being killed by AQI and the insurgents, they would still be being killed by Saddam.

As far as I know, the Iran-Iraq War ended in 1990, while the Anfal campaign ended in 1988. The relevant average for deaths under Saddam would be deaths in the immediate pre-war period, i.e. 2002-2003. Whatever Saddam had done in the past, he was not murdering large numbers of Iraqi civilians in the immediate post-war years, so one cannot argue that by invading we were somehow reducing a death rate that reached its peak in the 1980s, over a dozen years before our own attack on Iraq. It's a complete apples to oranges comparison.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

brojo - your comment that "the vast majority of violent deaths of civilians are caused by US aerial bombing," is breathtakingly ignorant.

BG,RS - violent deaths before the invasion may have been "limited to those who opposed Saddam Hussein," but that was an awfully large group of people. And most of them were innocent of any actual conspiracy against Saddam. You make it sound like he only killed folks caught in the process of subverting his government and, as I'm sure you know, that wasn't the case.

Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Stefan - ignore Saddam's worst atrocities and he doesn't look that bad.

Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam had caused perhaps 2 million violent deaths in his 24 years of misrule by using torture and mass murder at home, and by starting wars with Iran, Kuwait, and Israel.

Wait, I'm confused -- according to current Republican orthodoxy is starting a war with Iran a good thing or a bad thing?

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Today in Iraq, the vast majority of violent deaths are caused by al Qaeda and the insurgents.

Cite, please, preferably with a link. Please specifically substantiate the figure relating to al Qaeda, which is probably the smallest fighting force in Iraq and hence rather unlikely to account for the vast majority of the casualties.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Lets see - 300K over 23 years, versus 150K at least in less than 5 - yeah, things are better.

And by the way - are you in favor of invading Burma and overthrowing the military junta and installing the duly elected president? By the logic you cling to re: Iraq, I would think you would be agitating for overthrowing all dictators everywhere.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 10, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Stefan - ignore Saddam's worst atrocities and he doesn't look that bad.

Look, you were the one who said "So while it is true that without the invasion, Iraqi would not be being killed by AQI and the insurgents, they would still be being killed by Saddam." This implies that Iraqi civilians were being killed in large numbers by Saddam at the time of the invasion, and that by invading we were somehow preventing these murders from going forward. But these murders had topped out by the late 1980s, and at the time we invaded he was relatively powerless and no longer conducting mass genocidal campaigns.

That doesn't mean he didn't deserve punishment for what he did in the past, but it does mean that our invasion was in no way reducing those numbers -- if we had wanted to do that, the time to invade Iraq was in the 1980s. But as I recall at that time Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld preferred to arm and support Saddam in his mass murders.....

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

The people who support the [republican] war in Iraq and getting rid of Saddam, citing atrocities against the populace - are the same people who say that the Kosovo [Democratic] campaign was unjustified.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 10, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

And that war actually stopped a genocide. This war has probably unleashed one.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 10, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

but the violent death rate was awfully high under Saddam.

Love the use of "awfully" in place of a number you can't provide. Think we wouldn't notice?

by some estimates higher than the current rate

By the estimate of ridiculous wingnuts trying to ex post facto justify an invasion, signifying nothing.

To both you an ex-liberal who are trying to sound "reasonable" while justifying the horrific slaughter and carnage in Iraq as maybe better than the Iraqis had it before or at least as not as bad as the very people measuring the slaughter and carnage in Iraq claim it to be -- you two can both just fuck off and die yourselves.

And I'm sure if you did it in Iraq another wingnut would step up and take your place arguing that either your deaths were preferable to your awful lives -- or that the figures of your deaths were exaggerated, possibly by 50%.

Posted by: trex on January 10, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Stefan - ignore Saddam's worst atrocities and he doesn't look that bad.

As gratifying as it may be to think that Bush invaded Iraq to rescue the Iraqi people from a heinous dictator--especially given US complicity in Saddam's rise to power, and furthermore leaving the Shiites in the south hanging out to dry after Gulf War I--that idea is, of course, bunk.

There is no redemption story here.

Posted by: Lucy on January 10, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Not that facts are terribly important to you Stefan, but Saddam was armed primarily by the Russians and the French.

You claimed that "these murders had topped out by the late 1980s, and at the time we invaded he was relatively powerless and no longer conducting mass genocidal campaigns." This of course ignores the genocidal eradication of the Marsh Arabs in the early 1990s (Human Rights Watch estimates some 200,000 were killed or displaced) as well as Saddam's increased suppression of the Shi'a in the 1990s (not to mention claims anti-Americans made throughout the 1990s about the effect of sanctions on Iraqis - effects actually caused by Saddam's decision to divert resources from the oil-for-food program to his military, his places, and his western political apologists). Moreover, the violent death data for post-invasion Iraq fails to separate out insurgent deaths. In other words, it counts among the dead, people killed in the course of trying to kill Iraqi civilians (kind of like including a suicide bomber in the bomb death count). So while it is true that Saddam wasn't gassing tens of thousand of Kurds or Iranians in the 1990s (though why we should ignore this when assessing Saddam is not clear to me), it is also true that in the decade leading up to the invasion, Saddam was still plenty capable of violently killing large numbers of Iraqi civilians (and torturing and terrorizing even more).

trex - no one is claiming that Iraq civilians have not faced terrible circumstances and borne terrible losses following the invasion. At issue if the zeal with which critics jumped on Lancet's ridiculous figure and the dismissal by those critics of the realities under which Iraqi civilians lived while Saddam was in power.

Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

The go-to blog on all things Lancet is Tim Lambert's Deltoid.

Posted by: Crust on January 10, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

A few clarifications:

The Lancet study determined changes in death rates from the years when Saddam was in power to the years when the US occupied Iraq. So trying to argue that Saddam killed more people previous to the US takeover is plain wrong as the death rates dramatically increased once the US took over.

Second, the Iraq Body Count numbers are universally (at least by those people who do not have a political or economic stake in the argument) agreed to be a minimum estimate. For many reasons (prevented by govt, lack of resources, immediate burial, etc.) the press is not able to catalog all of the violoent deaths and certainly not even a fraction of the excess nonvioloent deaths.

The latest study was conducted by employees of the Irag Ministry of Health. Again this is likely to produce a conservative estimate especially for violent deaths. Imagine if members of a group that are trying to kill you (as far as you know) came to your door to ask you for data like that.

The Lancet study was conducted by an independent group who had performed similar studies in similar situations. Experts in this field that combines elements of demography and epidemiology have stated that it is a sound study. Many politicians and others with similar interest but without any knowledge of this area have claimed problems but to my knowledge the study is still supported by the experts and no valid criticism of the methodology has been put forward.

So yes, no matter how you slice it, the US has created a situation that has led to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and that should be sobering to any rational person.

btw, I am an ecologist who works with carbon cycling research and I have seen these same politically motivated attacks on colleagues who publish global warming related research. It is imperative that we be careful to make sure that the person who is attacking science is capable of understanding the research and is offering valid criticism. While I do not want to condone a "cult of the expert" and imply that only scientists can evaluate science, it is important to carefully analyze a critic especially if they have ulterior motives. The argument and evidence is the key thing to evaluate but it is not improper to treat nonexperts skeptically until you can evaluate their argument or independent experts can.

Posted by: Bill Hicks on January 10, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

When the US kills civilians with aerial bombing, the dead are counted as al Qeada or terrorists. US crimes against Iraqi civilians does take one's breath away.

Posted by: Brojo on January 10, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

At issue if the zeal with which critics jumped on Lancet's ridiculous figure and the dismissal by those critics of the realities under which Iraqi civilians lived while Saddam was in power.

When you're a team of world-renowned epidemioligist who've compiled similar studies in war zones that were accepted by the world community then you can call it ridiculous.

Until then you're just some boob on a blog trying to score ideological points -- based on nothing but hot air.

the realities under which Iraqi civilians lived while Saddam was in power.

Something of which you appear to have a dim, one-sided knowledge based on warmed-over propaganda at best -- at least according to the dozens of Iraqi ex-patriates I've known all my life.

Bill Hicks' comment above says all that needs to be said about this issue:

[N]o matter how you slice it, the US has created a situation that has led to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and that should be sobering to any rational person.

Posted by: trex on January 10, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

No one is making light of the fact that so many Iraqis have been killed - by AQI and the insurgency - following the invasion.

Speaking for myself, I have recognized the obvious point that if we hadn't gotten rid of Saddam, this wouldn't have happened. The scale of death and destruction is sobering. But so too was the scale of death and destruction under Saddam.

This is not to say that it's OK that so many of Iraqis have died since 2003 simply because so many Iraqis died under Saddam. But it is to say that there is a significant difference between Iraqis dying to preserve a brutal dictatorship and Iraqis dying in a struggle to create a freer, democratic Iraq. And until we know the outcome of that struggle, it is impossible to know if it was "worth it." Either way, the notion that all was well under Saddam until we screwed it up is both insulting and preposterous.

Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

You claimed that "these murders had topped out by the late 1980s, and at the time we invaded he was relatively powerless and no longer conducting mass genocidal campaigns." This of course ignores the genocidal eradication of the Marsh Arabs in the early 1990s (Human Rights Watch estimates some 200,000 were killed or displaced) as well as Saddam's increased suppression of the Shi'a in the 1990s.

No, they were ignored because I was referring specifically to your own examples of the Iran-Iraq War and the Tal Anfar campaign, which ended respectively in 1990 and 1988. Those were the murders which had topped out by then. Moreover, you don't seem to understand what the phrase "topped out" means -- it doesn't mean it stopped, just that it hit a peak and declined from there.

In addition, I don't think you understand how linear time works. Neither the early 1990s nor the 1990s are the time period of 2002-2003, which would be the relevant time period when discussing whether our attack on Iraq reduced the number of people currently being killed there. The fact that Saddam killed, for example, a large number of Marsh Arabs in 1993 cannot be used to justify the claim that our invasion in 2003 reduced the deaths in Iraq in 2003, no matter how much hand-flapping you engage in.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Either way, the notion that all was well under Saddam until we screwed it up is both insulting and preposterous.

Well, no is saying that, so flog that strawman good. Saddam put down insurgencies (funny that), was brutal to his political enemies, and engaged the country in a long, terrible war.

On the other hand, daily life in Iraq was more or less normal for most of the population. Having a couple dozen Iraqi friends who'd lived there from the seventies through the nineties, I can relay their sentiments that among the worst parts about living there were the devastating international sanctions and bombing campaigns from the U.S.

But because Iraq isn't a place you'd want to live you're making the decision for the people who lived there?

Who's dictating to whom?

Iraqis dying in a struggle to create a freer, democratic Iraq

Really? The Sunnis killing the Shia are struggling to create a freer, democratic Iraq? The Shia killing other Shia and Sunnis are struggling to create a freer, democratic Iraq? The Iraqis being killed by the local "Al Qaeda" franchise and the various Islamists groups died struggling to create a freer, democratic Iraq?

How about the people killed by the corrupt Iraqi police?

Is it freer if you're a Sunni who can no longer hold his old professional position? Is it freer if you're a woman who can no longer walk the streets uncovered for fear of beatings and rape? Is it freer if the news media is forbidden to report on stories not favorable to the government?

Is it freer if you're a child who can no longer go to school for safety reasons, or if you don't have access to clean water, or fuel, or food that you had prior to the invasion?

Is it freer if you fear being kidnapped and killed by the police in the middle of the night?

You need to get a fucking grip.

And you need to understand that it is not your right to invade a country that was not threatening you, turn it into a fucking slaughterhouse, and then sit around in your shorts with a beer casually claiming to be the arbiter of whether it was "all worth it" or not.

You are out of your fucking mind.

Posted by: trex on January 10, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

This of course ignores the genocidal eradication of the Marsh Arabs in the early 1990s (Human Rights Watch estimates some 200,000 were killed or displaced) as well as Saddam's increased suppression of the Shi'a in the 1990s.

Am I the only one who enjoys the irony of torture porn lover Hacksaw approvingly citing Human Rights Watch? Think he'd also agree to cite their catalogue of Bush regime abuses, including murder, kidnapping and torture?

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Where'd you get the 393,000 excess mortality figure from? Tim Lambert has it at 450,000.

Posted by: Peter H on January 10, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Stefan you should give Hacksaw a break - grant him the five years or even the full decade (allowing him to take into account deaths under Hussein while we were supporting him in any way however would be, on the other hand, just stupid). That gets him an additional 200,000 deaths or so. When normalized for time and then compared against the past five years it still demonstrates that Bush is a more bloodthirsty dictator than Hussein.

Sure, such a comparison is unfair to Hussein because it counts deaths before his total containment by the Clinton Administration, but we're nice people and are bending over backwards to try and give Hacksaw the benefit of the doubt. Even as he, as you point out, demonstrates an inability to grasp the notion of linear time.

On the other hand, trex's comment that you (Hacksaw) are insane is spot on the mark. The Iraqi people were never a threat to our national security, Saddam Hussein's containment meant that the violent death rate was far lower than it is under their current dictator Bush, and all of this is attributable to blithering idiots like yourself whose callous disregard for the lives and welfare of the citizens of Iraq has turned the nation into a disaster from which they will unlikely recover for decades. Thanks a lot you psychotic asshole.

Posted by: heavy on January 10, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

The National Journal article is full of s**t. Tim Lambert, who actually knows something about statistics, responds here

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/01/flypaper_for_innumerates_natio.php

Posted by: Peter H on January 10, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan - I understand that you are saying that we should only consider the violent death rate in Saddam's final 1-2 years in power against the post-invasion violent death rate, I simply disagree with your position. In any event, I didn't claim the invasion reduced deaths in Iraq. I said that conditions under Saddam were comparably awful and that (if you add in the million-plus Iranian and Kurdish casualties) some calculations do put the annual death total under Saddam as higher than the current estimates.

trex - the problem with your statements are that they could be written to "prove" the opposite of what you are claiming:

"Is it freer if you're a Sunni who can no longer hold his old professional position."

Was it freer when Shiites and Kurds were barred from certain professional positions?

"Is it freer if you're a woman who can no longer walk the streets uncovered for fear of beatings and rape?"

Have you seriously dismissed the systematic use of rape by Saddam's thugs (not to mention his sons)?

"Is it freer if the news media is forbidden to report on stories not favorable to the government?"

Are you seriously claiming the Iraqi press was freer under Saddam?

"Is it freer if you're a child who can no longer go to school for safety reasons?"

Was it freer when they were brainwashed in Baathist schools and encouraged to spy on their parents? Or when Saddam's police forces raped children in front of their parents?

"or if you don't have access to clean water, or fuel, or food that you had prior to the invasion?"

Depending totally on who you were. Privileged Sunnis in Baghdad were better off but at the cost of millions of Shiites and Kurds who had less access to these services under Saddam than they do now.

"Is it freer if you fear being kidnapped and killed by the police in the middle of the night?"

Are you seriously dismissing the fear of being picked up by Saddam's intelligence services in the middle of the night or suggesting that that happened less under Saddam than it happens now?


Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

But it is to say that there is a significant difference between Iraqis dying to preserve a brutal dictatorship and Iraqis dying in a struggle to create a freer, democratic Iraq.

Had that been a reason cited pre-invasion, you might have a point, but as it was not, you don't.

And until we know the outcome of that struggle, it is impossible to know if it was "worth it."

Are you fucking serious? "Worth it"? Who will make this determination?

Either way, the notion that all was well under Saddam until we screwed it up is both insulting and preposterous.

Where did anyone say all was well under Saddam Hussein? I ahve never said any such thing. i did say it was up to the Iraqis to overthrow their government. Not some mentally defective half-chimp inbred fuckwit with a war jones and daddy issues.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 10, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Today in Iraq, the vast majority of violent deaths are caused by al Qaeda and the insurgents.

Cite, please, preferably with a link. Please specifically substantiate the figure relating to al Qaeda, which is probably the smallest fighting force in Iraq and hence rather unlikely to account for the vast majority of the casualties.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I said that conditions under Saddam were comparably awful and that (if you add in the million-plus Iranian and Kurdish casualties) some calculations do put the annual death total under Saddam as higher than the current estimates.

Cite, please, preferably with links to a reputable (i.e. non-wingnut) cite.

Also, when challenged you seem to be backing down to the old standby "yeah, but we're not as bad as Saddam!" argument. Which, sure, if that's the standard you want to be judged by....

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

BG, RS - Isn't the question of worth the basic question here? As for who determines it, at some level we all do (proven by the fact that so many here have already concluded and stated that the war was not and could never be "worth it.") And the Iraqi people will also need to decide how to place the violence and death of the last 4 years into the context of their history, based largely on how the current struggle turns out. So yeah, I am "fucking serious" when I raise the question.

Stefan - I would head over to Engram's site for a detailed discussion of how Iraqi casualties break down. Note that I said AQI and the insurgents are responsible for the vast majority of Iraqi civilian casualties. However, you did ask about AQI and, as Engram points out, while they are a very small force in terms of sheer numbers, they are responsible for most of the suicide bombing and for almost all of the spectacular, large-scale bombings.

Lastly, I am not backing down to the "yeah we aren't as bad as Saddam" argument, I am refuting trex's claim that things were better under Saddam.

Read.

Then type.

Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah Hacksaw, I am asserting that rapes were less far less common under Saddam because as a police state Iraq had almost no crime, and the infamous "rape rooms" were reserved for political enemies and traitors to the state -- whereas now rapes are happening on the street every day for no particular reason at all.

No car bombs under Saddam. Check.

No running gun battles in the street under Saddam, no ongoing sectarian violence, no weekly casualties from collateral damage by U.S. forces. Check.

"Brainwashing" (you're an idiot and don't know what you're talking about) not as bad as kids not being able to go to school because they might get shot or blown up. Check.

Under Saddam Shi'ites had more access to clean water and government food provisions than now. Check. Did you even know there were Shi'ites in the military and in certain government jobs? That Sunni and Shia intermarried?

Were you even aware that Shia in general wanted a religious, Islamist government, and didn't want to participate in Saddam's secular regime?

Your whole schtick is to take examples of things that were rare in Saddam's Iraq, call them "systemic," and use that to try and characterize the old way of life as much worse than the rivers of blood that have run there for the past five years for conditions which are measurably worse in quantity and quality.

Not even the Iraqis would take your arguments seriously.

Posted by: trex on January 10, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

I said that conditions under Saddam were comparably awful and that (if you add in the million-plus Iranian and Kurdish casualties) some calculations do put the annual death total under Saddam as higher than the current estimates.

In addition, if you're going to add all the deaths of the Iran-Iraq War to Saddam's ledger because he started that war, then surely to be consistent we have to add all the deaths of the current Iraq War to George Bush's ledger because he started this one. So if you add in the millions plus Iraqi casualties then some calculations do put the annual death total under Bush as in the millions.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK
January 03, 2007 - Many adults in Iraq believe the coalition effort has been negative, according to a poll by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies and the Gulf Research Center. 90 per cent of respondents think the situation in their country was better before the U.S.-led invasion.

http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/14282

What if this poll is wrong, and only 80% think that life under Saddam was preferable? What if it was only 70%? Hell, what if it was only half? Would that give you the U.S. the right to invade?

No.

Posted by: trex on January 10, 2008 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

And the Iraqi people will also need to decide how to place the violence and death of the last 4 years into the context of their history, based largely on how the current struggle turns out.

The Iraqi People no doubt appreciate the acknowledgement.

Posted by: Lucy on January 10, 2008 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan - I would head over to Engram's site for a detailed discussion of how Iraqi casualties break down.

I clicked that link -- nope, there was no detailed discussion about how Iraqi casualties break down as to who is responsible. Again, please provide a cite and link to a reputable (i.e. non wingnut) site.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Are you seriously suggesting that the death rate now is greater than it was under sanctions era Saddam Hussein? If you are then you too stupid to breathe. See that's the difference between the board and you. You attempt to conflate an unconstrained Iraqi dictator with the one contained by sanctions. Intelligent people look at the world as it was the moment George Bush decided to drop hundreds of bombs on the innocent people of Baghdad.

Posted by: heavy on January 10, 2008 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm off to a party. I'll leave it to my friends here to continue slapping around the torture pervert Hacksaw.

Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK
.... I said AQI and the insurgents are responsible for the vast majority of Iraqi civilian casualties....Hack at 5:40 PM
And who is responsible for AQI and the insurgency? Who is responsible for maintaining law and civil order in occupied Iraq?

Think

Then type.

Posted by: Mike on January 10, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

A minor arithmetic correction.

The point estimate of the post-invasion rate for violent deaths is 1.09 per thousand person years. However, the point estimate of the pre-invasion rate for violent deaths is .10 per thousand person years. Which means the point estimate of the increase in the rate of violent deaths is .99 per thousand person years.

This makes the point estimate of the increase in total deaths: 151,000*2.84/0.99 or about 433,000.

Posted by: Michael I on January 10, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

it is impossible to know if it was "worth it."

The only way to properly know if the US invasion and occupation of Iraq was worth it is to ask the people who have been victims of it. I would like to see a survey of orphans, widows, widowers and parents who have lost children through US violence, asking them if their new found freedom and liberty was worth the death of their loved ones by the 'liberators'.

Posted by: Brojo on January 10, 2008 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that's sort of amusing about this debate--people cite statistics for how many people died under Saddam without ever once describing how we know those numbers are accurate. I don't doubt that large numbers of people were killed by Saddam, but if the current debate over the Iraq War should tell you anything, it's that you can't trust the numbers tossed around in political debates.

So, how many bodies have actually been found in Saddam's mass graves? Last I read, (a couple of years ago), it was a lot less than people expected. How many people died under the sanctions? (Which would be our fault anyway). Estimates vary wildly. How many died in the war with Iran? Presumably hundreds of thousands, but low hundreds or high hundreds?

Anyone care to tell me of the articles in peer-reviewed journals that estimate the number of people murdered by Saddam?

Posted by: Donald on January 10, 2008 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lax, I can only presume you were a coward then and are a worse one now. It is really pathetic when draft dodgers like you try to atone for your own weakness of character and congenital cowardice by advocating unjust wars when you were too chickenshit to fight when you were young. How do you sleep at night? How do you look yourself in the mirror?

If you had possessed the stones to step up then, maybe you wouldn't be such a pathetic piece of cowardly, warmongering shit now.

For the record, I will be calling you out on this every time you have the gall to show your "face" around here.

How many deferments did you take?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 10, 2008 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

There's a simple equation that tells us how well Iraq is doing under George W. Bush's dictatorship: 6.01 - 3.1 = 2.91 additional deaths per thousand person years, a near doubling. That difference is entirely attributable to the invasion. It reflects the violence unleashed by Bush's invasion, it reflects that lack of services caused by Bush's invasion, and it reflects the chaos caused by Bush's invasion.

It reflects extremely badly on those who support the war on Iraq.

Posted by: heavy on January 10, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

It depends on how things turn out. If the surge continues to defeat AQI and other terrorists, and if the various religious groups can live together in peace, and if the democratic government is able to become effective and stable, then a great many deaths would be justified.
Posted by: ex-liberal

Interesting. If I understand you correctly, then if the surge continues to kill terrorists which never existed in Iraq prior to 2003, and if the country reaches a level of co-existence similar to pre-invasion levels, then "a great many [Iraqi] deaths would be justified"?

Presumably, you would also agree that if 9-11 taught America the tragic consequences of its Mideast policy for the past 20 years and therefore led to substantial changes for the better, then those 3000 deaths were well worth it?

Posted by: Lurker on January 10, 2008 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

trex,

You whitewashing of Saddam's regime is pretty disheartening. What was it John Derbyshire at NRO once wrote:

Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.

As for you Mike, the primary responsibility for AQI and the insurgency rests with AQI and the insurgents. A very basic point that the Bush-haters and war critics invariably fail to recognize.

Posted by: Hacksaw on January 10, 2008 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw you are a fucking moron. No, sorry, you are a bloodthirsty fucking moron. There was no AQI until Bush came. It isn't Bush hatred to recognize that he is the sine qua non of violence and death by the insurgency and AQI.

So, from a nation at peace with a dictator and half the death rate to a nation in turmoil with twice the death rate - that's Bush's gift to Iraq.

Your hatred for the Iraqi people shines through loud and clear Hack. You would rather they suffer and die under Bush than that they live in the relative peace of Hussein. And however much you wish it weren't true, Saddam Hussein made a better dictator than Bush does.

Posted by: heavy on January 10, 2008 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK
.... the primary responsibility for AQI and the insurgency rests with AQI....Hack at 8:07 PM
That would be true if you completely distort the events of the Bush invasion. Before that, there was no AQI. There was no insurgence. There weren't 4,000,000 Iraqi refugees. The undeniable fact is that they arose after the American invasion and occupation. You can lie, you can spin, you can dissemble and you can promulgate all the war mongering propaganda you have, but it is still the fault of Bush and his war just as all the hundreds of thousands of excess Iraqi deaths is the fault of Bush and his war whores.

As an aside, here's what Bush said one year ago about his surge

..."[O]ver time," Bush said, "we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad's residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace -- and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible. . . .
"To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution."
And lest anyone think that Bush didn't take these Iraqi promises seriously, he vowed that "America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced."...

Of course, none of that has happened. What has occurred are more death, more refugees, more destruction, more chaos, more bullsh*t, and more money wasted down the rathole of Bush's ego

Posted by: Mike on January 10, 2008 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

In an effort to answer Donald's question about Iraqi deaths in peer-reviewed sources I stumbled across this at WH.gov in an article on Operation Iraqi Freedom (TM):

"Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease, preventively, but died because of the nature of the regime under which they are living." (Prime Minister Tony Blair, March 27, 2003) o Under the oil-for-food program, the international community sought to make available to the Iraqi people adequate supplies of food and medicine, but the regime blocked sufficient access for international workers to ensure proper distribution of these supplies. o Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition forces have discovered military warehouses filled with food supplies meant for the Iraqi people that had been diverted by Iraqi military forces."

The bastards don't mention that chlorine was one of the sanctioned items during the 90's. The majority of deaths, mostly children, were not caused from hunger, but from diarrheal diseases caused by drinking unchlorinated, bacteria-laden water. On any sum total of Iraqi deaths caused by the US, these 400,000 (I've read 500,000 elsewhere) deaths need to be added to the total.

Posted by: nepeta on January 10, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Question for hacksaw and all the other apologists for Bush's war...How bad does it have to get, how many Iraqis have to die, how many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have to die or suffer life-altering injury, before your safe, secure, out-of-uniform asses will admit that it was wrong to invade Iraq? How long are you willing to wait and sacrifice the blood of others?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 10, 2008 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone is still reading this far, I'd like to thank the folks (including ex-liberal) who took the time to respond thoughtfully to my question about what number of deaths would be justified.

Kevin's site is interesting ... it tends to be pretty thoughtful (if dutifully pessimistic) but the comments threads are just brutal.

I thought that the Derbyshire quote was interesting, but it brings up an observation that I've made before: he's living in the 40s.

So it turns out that there were a lot of apologists for Stalin's regime within the academy and in circles that were called "liberal" at the time. But their progeny is not those who call themselves "liberals" or "progressives" today. And in fact, it was Democratic presidents who took a hard line on the expansion of Communism, who got us into Vietnam and escalated it. Which isn't to say that Republicans have always been the bad guys, just that these historical analogies are not apt (... APT!).

As for today we are not "fellow travelers" with Saddam and long to see all brutal dictators deposed. We would just like to see effective methods used, not poorly planned wars that bankrupt our country and leave countries in uncertain, dangerous and deadly disarray.

And it is progressives who stand up against the torturous tyranny of the Bush regime. We are not so blinded by our own bloodthirsty rage as to be unable to recognize the jackboot when it is on our own foot. Though now I think that the blindness of the war apologists and their fellow travelers is primarily motivated by shame rather than rage. And I can have compassion for that.

For we are all about to learn a massive and tragic lesson in sunk costs. And it will be to the shame of us all and this country that we so love. I did not stop it so I acknowledge my responsibility for it.

Posted by: micahw on January 10, 2008 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

micahw,

What an astonishing comment. I think you've stopped this thread in its tracks. I'm certainly not going to make a comment here for awhile. There is a need for a moment of silence.

Posted by: nepeta on January 10, 2008 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding Bush's fabulous peacekeeping mission--Thank you, sir!!--my dumbass local paper had the front page headline "Bush lays out challenges for Mideast." (Capitalization is pre-911 thinking.) It's like Bush is one of the great geopolitical analysts. "Tell us, Bwana Bush, what is this situation that we face? What must we do to achieve peace? You know so much, and we know so very little."

I love nothing better than to turn off the electricity of Jerusalem and watch the sunrise from my hotel-room balcony. My wife and I sip mimosas. All is peaceful, but for the distant popping of explosions and firearms. It's lovely, and I begin the day refreshed and renewed.

Posted by: Anon on January 11, 2008 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

The 47,500 pounds of explosives dropped by air yesterday presumably have added handsomely to these totals.

Posted by: bob h on January 11, 2008 at 6:44 AM | PERMALINK

micahw, I appreciate your moderate statement.

I would imagine that everyone here longs to see all brutal dictators deposed using effective methods, rather than poorly planned wars that bankrupt our country and leave countries in uncertain, dangerous and deadly disarray. The trouble is, I don't think the effective option was ever on the table. The only person willing to undertake Saddam's overthrow was George Bush. So, the only realistic choices were leaving Saddam in power or Bush's messy, badly planned overthrow.

According to one analysis, the moral choice between these two is clear, because Saddam had a higher rate of violent deaths than the current.

Combining the number of civilians killed by Saddam and number of soldiers killed on all sides during his two "unnecessary wars of choice," and we find a median estimate of 1.88 million killed during his 24-year reign, or 235 people a day.

The Iraq War started on March 20, 2003, and this study ran through June of 2006. In that time, 151,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, or 126.04 per day.

Add in 10,000 estimated terrorist/insurgent/militia dead and roughly 2762 through that time period Coalition military deaths, and you arrive at a rough total of 163762 total violent deaths, or 136.7 total violent deaths per day through June 2006.

http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/251594.php

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

How many deferments did you take ex-lib?

are you a warmonger now because you were a coward then?

That's the case, isn't it? Why did it take us so long to think to ask that question.

HOW MANY DEFERMENTS DID YOU TAKE THEN???

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Combining the number of civilians killed by Saddam and number of soldiers killed on all sides during his two "unnecessary wars of choice," and we find a median estimate of 1.88 million killed during his 24-year reign, or 235 people a day.

Hmmm....well then, considering the approximately one million civilians and combatants killed on all sides during the five years George Bush's unnecessary war of choice, we find a median estimate of 547.95 people a day killed. That beats Saddam's estimate all to hell.

Posted by: Stefan on January 11, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan, even if one accepts your figures, one must look at the duration. Saddam's rate of killing went on for 24 years. The current war's killing lasted 5 years and now appears to be dwindling.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Once again we see what happens when you give idiots numbers. Listen, you faux-liberal, lumping in wars Hussein was no longer able to start is deeply dishonest. From the time Clinton took power in 1993 until George W. Bush decided it would be fun to slaughter him some Iraqis the death rate from violence was about one-tenth of what it is under the occupation of Iraq. The overall death rate has doubled.

Hundreds of thousands are dead, the nation is in ruins. These are the results of Bush's war on Iraq. There is nothing moral about the assault on the innocent people of Iraq.

Posted by: heavy on January 11, 2008 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

How many deferments did you get when it was your turn?

How many ex-liberal? Do you warmonger now because you are and always have been a coward at the very center of your being? Did you burn your draft card then? Did you protest when there was a risk to you personally?

Were you taking deferments and letting others fight and die back then?

Is your support for this fucking apostasy based in innate, congenital cowardice?

Are you in the same league as Dick Cheney?

Your silence says you are.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

**crickets**

ex-liberal, if you had a conscience, you would throw yourself off an overpass there in New Jersey. But you have shown us over and over and over again that you wouldn't know Honor if it kicked your soft teeth down your fear-choked throat.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, your Amazon wish list is worth a few chuckles. Your pathetic, neo-fascist letters to the editor, not so much - but your amazon list is an absolute howler! Were you a consultant for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, perchance?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan, even if one accepts your figures, one must look at the duration. Saddam's rate of killing went on for 24 years. The current war's killing lasted 5 years

That's exactly the point. It took Saddam 24 years to cause 1.88 million deaths, while Bush has managed to cause one million in less than five years, making him far deadlier. Just think how many more deaths Bush could cause if he had 19 more years! Why, compared to Bush, Saddam was a rank amateur....


Posted by: Stefan on January 11, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan, your point might be valid (assuming that your figures were correct) if the rate of war deaths were going to continue. However, the success of the surge means that won't happen.

Also, many or most of these deaths were caused by Al Qaeda or instigated by them. If the US had not invaded Iraq, I think al Qaeda would have made mischief somewhere else. In short, I refuse to assign any guilt to the US for terrorism committed by al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is responsible for al Qaeda's mass murders.

Lucy, you seem to think it's an insult to imply that my taste in DVDs is shared by gay men. I don't agree.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

I really could not care less if you twirl a baton through the Lincoln tunnel.

I want to know how many deferments did your cowardly, war-mongering ass ask for and receive???

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

If the US had not invaded Iraq, I think al Qaeda would have made mischief somewhere else.

No, "Al Qaeda" in Iraq is a nationalist group comprised of Iraqis. They wouldn't have made mischief anywhere else any more than the KKK or Stormfront does in countries other than the U.S.

Why do you never have your facts straight? Is it on purpose or are you just dim?

Combining the number of civilians killed by Saddam and number of soldiers killed on all sides during his two "unnecessary wars of choice

Actually, one has to discount Saddam's war against Iraq because the U.S. at the time saw it as necessary, and was done not only with our blessing but to a certain extent on our behalf:

Beginning in July 1987, the CIA also began sending covert spy plans and helicopters over Iranian bases. Several engaged in secret bombing runs...In September 1987, a special operations helicopter attacked an Iranian mine-laying ship...

The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency dispatched additional officers to Baghdad...they were planning day-by-day strategic bombing strikes for the Iraqi Air Force...in a twenty-four hour period, U.S. forces sank or demolished a destroyer and a couple of frigates, which represented half the Iranian navy.

If Saddam had not ultimately prevailed, the Pentagon had prepared an even more ambitious strategy: to launch an attack against the Iranian mainland. "The real plans were for a secret war, with the U.S. on the side of Iraq against Iran..." said retired Lieutenant Colonel Roger Charles, who was serving in the office of the secretary of defense at the time. This was confirmed by Admiral James A. "Ace" Lyons, who was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. As he put it, "We were prepared, I would say at the time, to drill them back to the fourth century."

Relatively cooler heads prevailed. According to Richard Armitage, who at the time was assistant secretary of defense, "The decision was made not to completely obliterate Iran...However, had things not gone well in the Gulf, I've no doubt that we would have put those plans into effect."

http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/001976.html

Posted by: trex on January 11, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Not that facts are terribly important to you Stefan, but Saddam was armed primarily by the Russians and the French.

The Ties That Blind: How Reagan Armed Saddam with Chemical Weapons
By NORM DIXON

On August 18, 2002, the New York Times carried a front-page story headlined, "Officers say U.S. aided Iraq despite the use of gas". Quoting anonymous US "senior military officers", the NYT "revealed" that in the 1980s, the administration of US President Ronald Reagan covertly provided "critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war". The story made a brief splash in the international media, then died.

While the August 18 NYT article added new details about the extent of US military collaboration with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Iraq's 1980-88 war with Iran, it omitted the most outrageous aspect of the scandal: not only did Ronald Reagan's Washington turn a blind-eye to the Hussein regime's repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Iraq's Kurdish minority, but the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.....

One of the more comprehensive and damning accounts of Iraqgate was written by Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas and published in the February 23, 1992, Los Angeles Times. Headlined, "Bush secret effort helped Iraq build its war machine", the article reported that "classified documents obtained by the LA Times show ... a long-secret pattern of personal efforts by [George Bush senior]--both as president and vice president--to support and placate the Iraqi dictator."

....Using its allies in the Middle East, Washington funnelled huge supplies of arms to Iraq. Classified State Department cables uncovered by Frantz and Waas described covert transfers of howitzers, helicopters, bombs and other weapons to Baghdad in 1982-83 from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait. Howard Teicher, who monitored Middle East policy at the US National Security Council during the Reagan administration, told the February 23, 1992, LA Times: "There was a conscious effort to encourage third countries to ship US arms or acquiesce in shipments after the fact. It was a policy of nods and winks."

....According to Mark Phythian's 1997 book Arming Iraq: How the US and Britain Secretly Built Saddam's War Machine (Northeastern University Press), in 1983 Reagan asked Italy's Prime Minister Guilo Andreotti to channel arms to Iraq.

....According to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, in a December 15, 1986 article, the CIA began to secretly supply Iraq with intelligence in 1984 that was used to "calibrate" mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. Beginning in early 1985, the CIA provided Iraq with "data from sensitive US satellite reconnaissance photography ... to assist Iraqi bombing raids".

....In a parallel program, the US defence department also provided intelligence and battle-planning assistance to Iraq...."more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq."

....Iraq's 1982 removal from Washington's official list of states that support terrorism meant that the Hussein regime was now eligible for US economic and military aid, and was able to purchase advanced US technology that could also be used for military purposes.

Conventional military sales resumed in December 1982. In 1983, the Reagan administration approved the sale of 60 Hughes helicopters to Iraq in 1983 "for civilian use". However, as Phythian pointed out, these aircraft could be "weaponised" within hours of delivery. Then US Secretary of State George Schultz and commerce secretary George Baldridge also lobbied for the delivery of Bell helicopters equipped for "crop spraying". It is believed that US-supplied choppers were used in the 1988 chemical attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja, which killed 5000 people.

....With the Reagan administration's connivance, Baghdad immediately embarked on a massive militarisation drive. This US-endorsed military spending spree began even before Iraq was delisted as a terrorist state, when the US commerce department approved the sale of Italian gas turbine engines for Iraq's naval frigates.

A 1994 US Senate report revealed that US companies were licenced by the commerce department to export a "witch's brew" of biological and chemical materials, including bacillus anthracis (which causes anthrax) and clostridium botulinum (the source of botulism). The American Type Culture Collection made 70 shipments of the anthrax bug and other pathogenic agents.

The report also noted that US exports to Iraq included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, plans for chemical and biological warfare facilities and chemical warhead filling equipment. US firms supplied advanced and specialised computers, lasers, testing and analysing equipment. Among the better-known companies were Hewlett Packard, Unisys, Data General and Honeywell.

....On September 8, 1988, the US Senate passed the Prevention of Genocide Act, which would have imposed sanctions on the Hussein regime. Immediately, the Reagan administration announced its opposition to the bill, calling it "premature". The White House used its influence to stall the bill in the House of Representatives. When Congress did eventually pass the bill, the White House did not implement it.

http://www.counterpunch.org/dixon06172004.html

Posted by: Stefan on January 11, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you never have your facts straight? Is it on purpose or are you just dim?

It's deliberate dishonesty. Funny that...I remember this letter to the L.A. Times where he almost broke an arm patting himself on the back over the "superior devotion to honesty" of right wingers.

Patterico reader David Skurnick e-mails to alert me that he had a letter in today's L.A. Times (third letter down):

Re "GOP Activist Made Allegations on CBS Memos," Sept. 18: I take pride that the first person to spot the falsity of the Rather memos was a conservative Republican. It shows that we on the right have a high regard for accuracy and integrity.
David Skurnick
Montville, N.J.
Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, your Amazon wish list is worth a few chuckles.

You can tell a lot about a person by their Amazon wish list...

I wonder if someone has it?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 11, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad you asked.

Click here.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

I loathe the liar that is "ex-liberal," but I'd prefer we not dig into his personal life. His lies can be debunked without reference to his Amazon wish list, his letters to the editor, or anything that traces back to him. We aren't right-wingers like Malkin trying to physically intimidate those with whom we disagree.

Posted by: heavy on January 11, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"It shows that we on the right have a high regard for accuracy and integrity."

Oh, that 's rich.

The most, dishonest, inaccurate poster on this site talking about the high conservative regard for factual accuracy.

Ironically, he's currently arguing with Stefan to whom he lost a bet over the daily casualty counts Iraq in another instance of his trying to diminish the carnage that Bush started there.

No shame at all.

Posted by: trex on January 11, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Prof. Juan Cole provides some more context (bolding mine):

There is also the question of how many Iraqis have sustained significant or crippling injuries from the same violence that has left so many dead. For US troops, the ratio is nearly 4,000 killed to nearly 10,000 severely wounded, or 2.5 times. If the same rate held true for Iraqi civilians in the war, and if it is true that 250,000 have by now been killed, it would equal 625,000 severely wounded.

One of the arguments warmongers gave for overthrowing Saddam Hussein was that his regime was responsible for the violent deaths of some 300,000 civilians between 1968 and 2003. That estimate now appears exaggerated, since the number of bodies in mass graves has not borne it out. But what is tragic is that in 4 1/2 short years, a foreign military occupation has unleashed killing on a scale achieved by the murderous Saddam Hussein regime only over decades. Bush did not kill all those people directly, of course, but he did indirectly cause them to be killed, since these are excess deaths beyond what you would have expected if there had been no invasion and occupation.

http://www.juancole.com/

Posted by: Stefan on January 11, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

We aren't right-wingers like Malkin trying to physically intimidate those with whom we disagree.

I happen to live in the same area as Michelle Malkin. Everyone knows the part of Montgomery County where she lives--it ain't that ritzy. It's not "NOVA" ritzy--it's your garden variety nice neighborhood. This proximity to other parts of Maryland allowed her to go to Baltimore last year and drive into the Patterson Park area, where she "stalked" the family of those kids who were benefitting from SCHIP.

You're equating THAT with observing that "ex-liberal" wants a copy of Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall / Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Glenn Close ???

How do you know that I won't be the one to buy him a copy?

Disclosing his Amazon wish list means that...he'll get what's on his wish list? And that's a bad thing?

Perspective, grasshopper. Perspective.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 11, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

If it's on the net, and posted there voluntarily by the person in question, it's fair game.

He can't have it both ways, and besides all that, he thinks it's fine for our privacy to go the way of the dinosaurs, as he has stated publicly both here and in the New York Times LtE's. When one is this prolific all bets are off.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal:

I have one quibble with your choices. I'm getting set to get you the aforementioned Sondheim: a Celebration at Carnegie Hall (an excellent choice, one that my cousin Bruce has so I can get my copy from him)--and I see that you also have Pippin on your wish list. But you appear to be asking for the 1982 version that has William Katt (The greatest American Hero actor) in the lead role.

What gives? The 1972 version is MUCH better, in my not too humble opinion. BOTH versions have the charming and delicious Ben Vereen, so I don't think it would be a hardship to skip the '82 version (Ben wasn't in great form for these performances, I heard at the time) and get you the much better received 1972 version.

Here's why I would steer clear of the 1982 version:

The sheer intensity of Vereen's many-faceted talents steals the show again and again, but he never upstages his co-stars. Martha Raye brings her boisterous energy to the role of Berthe, Pippin's 67 year old grandmother, while Chita Rivera ignites sparks every time she prances into a scene as Pippin's stepmother.

I'm sorry, but I cannot tolerate the stylings of Martha Raye. If you are a fan, well, that's all well and good. This is where we break from each other, I would hazard a guess.

I'd rather get you Pippin (1972 Original Broadway Cast) with Stephen Schwartz, Ann Reinking, Eric Berry, Jill Clayburgh, John Rubinstein, Irene Ryan, Ben Vereen because I think that would, ultimately, be the better version. Now, you may already have it, and that's fine. Do you want to amend your wish list so I can get it for you?

Granted--you're asking for the DVD of the filmed performance (your milage may vary on the audio mastering) and I'm offering the cast recording (a stellar recording, as I've enjoyed it several times this past year).

Either way! You cannot go wrong with Pippin.

Just curious.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 11, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Just to be clear - I'm not equating stalker Malkin with the behavior here. I am gently suggesting we not go down that road. Sure, no one here is going to use this information to stalk our fake liberal friend, but there are others who may read this who may not be as respectful of personal privacy. "ex-liberal's" support for Bush's invasion of privacy notwithstanding.

Posted by: heavy on January 11, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

heavy,

I appreciate your concerns. However:

Dear Pale Rider at dtech_support@hotmail.com,

We're writing to confirm your purchase of the following item from caiman.com:

1 of Sondheim: a Celebration at Carnegie Hall (available to ship by 15-January-2008) Amazon Payments has charged your credit card (American Express) for this purchase, and the funds have been credited to caiman.com.

You have chosen to ship your order via Standard shipping. The delivery estimate for this method to your address is 2 to 6 business days after shipping. The actual delivery time for the item(s) in your order will depend on the shipping policies of caiman.com cal and when the item(s) are available to ship.

Thanks for shopping at Amazon.com.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 11, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

off topic..

but still having to do with death in iraq...

here's an apples to apples comparison considering iraq and the usa

usa troops in iraq are more like cops...right..since it is an occupation..

so let's compare...

remember...there were 901 usa military deaths in iraq in 2007 (new record)

now..

Police deaths (in usa) up sharply in 2007, groups find - Traffic accidents, shootings make up most of 186 recorded deaths - MSNBC 12/27/07

the only hitch is...

usa is 12-time larger than iraq...

Posted by: mr. irony on January 11, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Right, Mr. Moron, so let's do the math.

The US is 12 times as large as Iraq. That means that you have to divide the US police deaths by 12 in order to get a comparable figure - or about 15.5. Now compare 16 (we're rounding up to be nice to you), with 900 (rounding down, same reason). The "police" in Iraq are 56 times as likely to die.

Thanks for demonstrating what a violent place George W. Bush's Iraq is.

Posted by: heavy on January 11, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider, I hope that everyone takes the same tack as you have - gentle mockery. If that means the odious "ex-liberal" is given gifts, that's also nice.

Posted by: heavy on January 11, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

mr. irony, the US is no longer occupying Iraq. That country now has an elected government. We are aiding Iraq at the request of its government.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-lib?

Hi. You ought to get it in about eight days or so. Give me a shout on one of the threads next week if there's a problem with the shipment.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 11, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

faux-liberal, the US is indeed occupying Iraq. Those troops aren't there at the behest of the government; they pre-date the government and will be there so long as the United States wants them there. That is the very definition of occupation.

Posted by: heavy on January 11, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

US is no longer occupying Iraq. We are aiding Iraq at the request of its government.

Really? Someone should tell the U.S. we've been voted out by the parliament, and that the extension by Maliki was illegal under the Iraqi constitution:

On May 10, 2007, 144 Iraqi Parliamentary lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal. On June 3, 2007, the Iraqi Parliament voted 85 to 59 to require the Iraqi government to consult with Parliament before requesting additional extensions of the UN Security Council Mandate for Coalition operations in Iraq. The current UN mandate expires in December 2007.

Before you start spewing new falsehoods you may want to begin by acknowledging all the ones on this thread that have been refuted.

Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Posted by: trex on January 11, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK


heavy: Thanks for demonstrating what a violent place George W. Bush's Iraq is.


that was the point...

or did you miss that?

Posted by: mr. irony on January 11, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal,

I don't know how much you know about that 1982 version of Pippin, with William Katt and Ben Vereen--you know, the one on your wish list at Amazon.com--but I saw this on YouTube and it just about shocked me to the core...

WARNING: This clip will blow your eyeballs out through the back of your head and make you feel...shameful. Dirty. It will make you...I don't want to say. Please, just...make certain...no one is watching over your shoulder...it's, well...

...naughty!

Are you quite certain that you want this version? I just checked your wishlist and you haven't amended it or indicated your preference as of yet.

Can you get moving on this? I don't want to leave Amazon.com open on this computer. There are some people here at the bottle washing factory who want to logon and buy tickets to Hairspray! before the end of the work day.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 11, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

mr. irony, the US is no longer occupying Iraq. That country now has an elected government. We are aiding Iraq at the request of its government.

The same way Germany was aiding France at the request of the Vichy government....

Posted by: Stefan on January 11, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

You know what mr. irony, I did miss it. I thought you were someone else (and now that I think of it, I was thinking of "mr. insensitive") and that you were making the opposite point extremely badly.

My apologies.

Posted by: heavy on January 11, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

heavy...accepted...

one more time...for ex...

there were 901 usa military deaths in iraq in 2007 (new record)

meanwhile, in the usa...

Police deaths up sharply in 2007, groups find - Traffic accidents, shootings make up most of 186 recorded deaths - MSNBC 12/27/07

the deaths were more than 4-times higher in iraq..

even though there are 12-times LESS people..

weird huh..

Posted by: mr. irony on January 11, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider - thanks for the info and recommendations regarding Pippen, as well as the link.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 11, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

How many deferments did you take when you were draft-age, ex-liberal?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm curious as to what method you used to dodge the draft, ex-lib. Did you go the Cheney route, or did you go the Ted Nugent crap-in-your-pants-for-a-week route?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 11, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ex liberal--

It's spelled Pippin, and your attempts at intentionally misspelling it so people don't know that you have an encyclopedic knowledge of American musical theater are a meek attempt at humility.

You, sir, have a highly developed sense of taste in music.

And we're never going to let you forget it.

Ever.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 11, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

my god, that song was far worse than I remembered. are we absolutely certain that ex-lib isn't just hot hot hot for some william (meeeeeow! rrrRRRRrrrr!) katt?

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 11, 2008 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

As I read these articles, Lancet study author Les Roberts explains the significant variances in the Lancet and the WHO reports (between the percentages of violent & non-violent Iraqi deaths) by noting that current Iraqis might be reluctant to admit that family members were killed while fighting the government. I think the Lancet report covered civilian and military deaths and that is consistent with Roberts' statement. After all, wouldn't an Iraqi killed while fighting the government (whether you call him as an insurgent or a resistance fighter) be classified as a military death?

However, I can't tell whether military deaths are included in the WHO report. Does anyone know whether the WHO report includes civilian and military deaths, or just civilian deaths?

Posted by: DRJ on January 14, 2008 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

poglejte si tole Noi VictorInox

Posted by: cafutaw on February 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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